The initials “SO” inlaid along the front edge of the top likely refers to Sarah Ogden (b. 1691), a member of the prominent Ogden family of Chester County. She was the daughter of David Ogden (1655-1705), a Quaker who emigrated from England with William Penn and settled in Chester County on land purchased from William Penn in 1682 (See Thomas Holmes Map of the Province of Pennsylvania, with names of original purchasers from William Penn, 1681; Charles Ogden, The Quaker Ogdens in America: David Ogden of Ye Goode Ship “Welcome” and His Descendants (Philadelphia: J.P. Lippincott Co., 1898)). David and his wife, Martha Houlston, married on January 12, 1686, and had 9 children. Sarah was their third child and she later married Evan Howell (died 1734) in Whiteland, Chester County. This chest may have been part of her dowry and perhaps corresponds to the “Walnut Case of Drawers a Walnut Chest” valued at 4-5-5 pounds in Evan Howell’s estate inventory taken at his death in 1734.
A closely related five-drawer walnut chest of drawers with the initials, “MO”, has a history of descent in the Ogden family of Chester County and may have been originally owned by Sarah’s sister, Martha (born 1689). With initials and inlays likely by the same maker, that chest is currently in the collection of the Gloucester County Historical Society in Woodbury, New Jersey (acc. no. 1916.41). It was given to the Historical Society by Sibyl Tatum Jones, who purchased it at auction from the estate of Laura Pauline Pancoast (born 1859). The chest appears illustrated in The Quaker Ogdens in America David Ogden of Ye Goode Ship “Welcome” And His Descendants, 1682-1897 by Charles Burr, as owned by Mary S. Pancoast (born 1821) of Philadelphia, who was an Ogden descendant and Laura’s aunt (see Ogden, pp. 27-28). The caption for the illustrated chest further states that Mary Pancoast inherited the chest through direct family lines from David Ogden through his son, Stephen (1705-1760).
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